You may need to consider redesigning your visual identity if…
- You’re starting a new company or launching a new product
- You’re merging with another company
- You’re thinking of a name change
- You need to reposition or revitalize your brand
- Your brand looks outdated
The Importance of Your Brand’s Visual Identity
Today we live in a culture that is rich in knowledge yet deprived of time. Because of this, it is often the visual identity of a brand that catches the eyes of consumers. In many cases, people tend to form their opinions and perceptions about a brand before they even know who it is and what its about. This is why your visual presence is essential in order to differentiate your brand effectively amongst the competition, and build trust with your consumers.
Many view a logo as mere decoration. However, it is important to understand that a brand’s visual identity goes far beyond aesthetics. When done creatively and strategically, a logo is a representation of a brand’s attributes and core values. It reflects a brand’s personality. It is what consumers remember and the first thing that comes to mind when they picture your brand.
The internet revolution and the current age of social media has forever changed how brands vocalize who they are. Logos are now flexible to the brand’s individual needs and are constantly reinvented. Visual identities have evolved to reflect the current generation of consumers.
It is easy to think of examples of identities for iconic brands that have stood the test of time-- Nike, Pepsi and Mercedes-Benz are just a few that come to mind. The success of these famous logos was largely driven by the need for brand differentiation in the post World War II boom, a consumer driven economy. Companies realized that their visual identity was the most important representation of their business, and needed to be communicated through symbols that were simple, powerful and easily reproduced in order to be recognized by millions of consumers.
What are the essential characteristics of the best identities? How do we define the best identities?
Elements that are important to your brand identity:
Great brands stand for something. Symbols (logos) are the fastest form of communication from a brand to the consumer. They become more powerful with frequent use and are the most visible reminder of what the brand stands for. A brand’s identity must express the organization’s unique mission, history, culture, values, and personality.
Symbols engage intelligence, imagination, emotion, in a way that no other learning does. -Georgetown University Identity Standards Manual
Nike’s logo was designed in 1971 and is an abstraction of a wing, after the Greek goddess of victory-- Nike. This symbol gives meaning to a company that markets running shoes and inspires consumers to “Just do it”.
Brands are always competing with each other within their business category, and at some level, competing with all brands that want the attention of consumers. Because of all of this competition, it is not enough to just be different. Brands need to demonstrate and communicate their difference, making it easy for customers to understand that difference.
Durability & Flexibility
Consumers are reassured by logos, symbols and trademarks that are familiar. In order to be familiar, brands need to commit to a central idea over time in order to transcend change and remain recognizable. An effective brand identity positions a company for change and growth in the future. It supports an evolving marketing strategy.
Coherence builds trust and fosters loyalty with customers. Every brand should have a style guide - a mini instruction manual for implementing your visual identity consistently. It includes directions on logo usage, choosing the right fonts and colours, as well as photos and illustrations.
Look and Feel
The collection of color, imagery, typography, and composition is what makes an identity differentiated. All elements of a visual language should be intentionally designed to advance the brand strategy.
For Your Information... Color palettes: Systems may have two color palettes: primary and secondary. Typography: Systems incorporate typeface families, one or sometimes two.
Your brand’s identity should be centered around creating an emotional connection with your customer. If your identity is not well defined it will lack personality. Although a visual identity is a small component of your overall brand, it is the first connection formed in the mind of the consumer.